The Morning After: MIT engineers' stroke-surgery robot

It can guide a wire through the vessels of a patient's brain.


Don’t worry, yes, there are even more Musk machinations, but first let’s broach something a little different — and possibly lifesaving. A team of MIT engineers is developing a telerobotic system for neurosurgeons. It unveiled a robotic arm that doctors can control remotely using a modified joystick to treat stroke patients.

The arm has a magnet attached to its wrist, and surgeons can adjust its orientation to guide a magnetic wire through the patient's arteries and vessels to remove blood clots in the brain. Like in-person procedures, surgeons will have to rely on live imaging to get to the blood clot, but the machine means they don’t have to be physically with the patient.

There’s a critical time window after someone suffers a stroke to ensure the best chance of recovery. The robot could make treatment possible even if a neurosurgeon is miles away.

— Mat Smith

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